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Youth Spotlight: Teen's Comment on Business and Urban Living Wins at Wharton's Global Youth Contest

Harrison Zuritsky, Business Editor

November 21, 2022

 

Darina Huang won the award of having the best “Park-centered Perspective” at the Wharton Global Youth Program 's Comment and Win Contest with her comment in response to the article: The Business of Urban Living. She is 16 and a rising senior at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, U.S.


This was her winning commentary:


This spring, my economics class took a trip to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York with the goal of observing and analyzing equitable use of the park, especially focus on the Lower-Middle Income (LMI) group. We learned that the park is surrounded by unique neighborhoods varying in socioeconomic status and ethnicity. And after two years in a pandemic and a crowded city, everyone needs green space to relax, stroll, and exercise. I observed lush green grass and families and couples picnicking, but this was not the case in all corners of the park. Some areas boasted poorly maintained lawns, hilly terrain, or wooded areas and lakes that hindered access to open space.

Reading Diana Drake’s article about how cities become more “livable” allowed me to connect some of my observations from Prospect Park to these larger ideas. As Mia Bay states in the article, “Cities…bring together strangers in close quarters and often tend to generate systems of social stratification”. I find it especially interesting when Bay discusses gentrification in cities, as I saw firsthand how “strangers in close quarters” can have such different experiences. The idea of gentrification is extremely important for cities to consider as it leads to other issues of affordability and sustainability that the article discusses. When a certain demographic is pushed out, urban migration becomes increasingly unaccessible and unattainable, contributing to a self-reinforcing cycle. And it is also important to recognize that gentrification not only applies to housing or living prices, but also access to public resources like parks.

If urban life is going to become more sought after in future years, as Drake notes that 68% of the world’s population is projected to live in cities in 2050, we must ensure that governments and businesses play a role in achieving equitable quality access. In the example of Prospect Park, the park association should be asking how it can improve its programming & amenities for the targeted LMI group while preventing higher income groups to “take over and claim the space as theirs”. In working towards equitability, it is most important to understand and cater towards the needs of the targeted group. We can only move forward with economic development and social progress once we establish affordable and equitable opportunities for all.


 

Darina’s comment is a nice touch to the Business of Urban Living article. The article is highly informative about research and developments in the Urban environment but is missing a personal touch of experiece.


Daria’s comment starts and eventual returns to what she saw at Prospect Part in her comment, reflecting on the reality of how communities struggle in poorer communities that may be realy close to wealthy communities. She establishes how visible the inequality is for the reader to more easily understand and admire.


In addition, we enjoyed reading how she connects the statistics “68% of our population by 2050 could be living in cities” from the article to to the inequality she experienced. Her comment puts the article into context and establishes why change and reform are necessary to benefit society as a whole, supporting and benefiting communities across all levels of the socioeconomic spectrum.


 

About the Contributor


Harrison is the Chief Editor of the Canadian Youth Journal for Investing. In addition to the journal, he is also on the national exec team at CYIS and a Business Editor at the Harriton Banter.


For inquiries regarding publication please contact Harrison at: harrisonzuritsky.cyis@gmail.com


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